Hi I’m Emma, and in 2015 I was diagnosed with breast cancer. At the time I played a lot of netball and one day my sports bra became really uncomfortable. I didn’t think much of it as it had been rubbing for a couple of months, but on closer inspection I found a pea-sized lump. I knew straight away it wasn’t right so went to see my doctor as soon as possible. I wasn’t too concerned and didn’t tell anyone I was going. As a family we’d been through a tough time - my Dad had died suddenly 11 years earlier at just 57 and then my Mum was diagnosed with breast cancer, so I didn’t want to unduly worry her or my sister.
A week later I saw an oncologist who gave me a mammogram followed by an ultrasound scan and needle biopsy. Alarm bells really started to ring because I was having one procedure after another. I knew something must be wrong. After the tests I met with the oncologist who, knowing my science background, asked ‘how matter of fact do you want me to be?’ He then broke the news that although we didn’t have the biopsy results he had no doubt that I had breast cancer and it was clear it had spread into my lymph nodes. I was in complete shock and on walking out the room burst into tears, I had only told two friends that I’d found a lump and now I was going to have to tell my family and all the people I loved that I had cancer.
After the diagnosis I agreed to take part in a new trial of 2 antibody treatments combined with high dose chemotherapy treatment. I just wanted to throw everything I could at this cancer. My doctors told me I was fit and well and that I’d be able to take it. And because of my background in research I felt I wanted to be part of something that could benefit future generations. I had a lumpectomy and axillary clearance, and completed radiotherapy in November. Post-surgery, I received the fantastic news that I was clear of cancer. I continued to work and play netball when able throughout. I now really feel like I can start to look forward to the future, and signing up for Race for Life has given me a fitness goal to aim for. I’ve always been a positive person and this is what has got me here today.
“When I was diagnosed with breast cancer, I cried my eyes out. I was in absolute bits and asked if I was going to die. But the surgeon was amazing – by the time I had stopped crying, she had already worked out my treatment plan.”
Liz was just 21 years old when she was diagnosed with cancer in 2014. She says, “I probably experienced more emotion in those few months than I have in my entire lifetime. At first I panicked, but after talking to my surgeon I went from thinking ‘my life is over’ to ‘there’s hope for me.' I had a lumpectomy 10 days after my diagnosis, and also opted for fertility treatment so my eggs could be frozen. I took part in Race for Life whilst having chemotherapy last summer, and it was amazing. I encourage everyone to do it – you have no excuse not to!”
Sign up to Race for Life today and help us beat cancer sooner: http://po.st/GiqtlJ
“When I was diagnosed with lung cancer at 33, I was given minimal odds of surviving. After visiting my doctor because of a persistent cough that I couldn’t shake off, I was sent for an X-ray which revealed I had abnormal patterns in my lungs. My symptoms got worse so I was referred for an MRI scan, followed by a biopsy. The results came back and doctors broke the news that I had lung cancer. A further blow came when they told me it had spread to my liver, bones and brain. I was so upset and cried when they told me, but once I had got over the initial shock, I just thought ‘ok, so what do we do next?’ I was told my only chance of survival was to start treatment straight away – my mum and aunt who were both with me at the hospital were told to prepare themselves for the worst as I might not come through such an intensive treatment. But despite the odds I did, and was able to go home on Christmas Eve.
"I continued with chemotherapy and had four more cycles until March 2013, when my consultant explained that he didn’t want to give me any more as he was concerned for my health. However, as a result of my diagnosis, I was eligible for clinical trials – I’m now on my second trial and recent results have shown that the treatment is working and there are no longer any visible signs of cancer.
"Thanks to research, new trial drugs and some amazing medical staff, I am now in temporary remission and still loving life. What has happened has changed me for the better. Now I want to give something back and raise awareness that cancer does not discriminate by age or gender. People must be aware that early diagnosis is imperative, and so is raising money towards kinder treatments.”
"Hi I’m Louise, and a hug from my boyfriend Kevin helped save my life! It was during the hug that I felt a pain in my chest, which revealed a lump in my breast. At the time I thought it was nothing, but I contacted my doctor just to be safe. I was referred for a biopsy and ultrasound which confirmed that I had an early form of breast cancer. It was a huge shock, and things moved so quickly. I had a left side mastectomy and reconstruction and also had my lymph nodes removed. I then started chemotherapy, which was tough going. I had a bad reaction to the treatment and my immune system became so low I had to go into isolation for a few days, which I really struggled with.
Kevin was such a huge support throughout – he proposed to me just before I started my chemo, and helped shave my head when I started losing my hair. I went through months of gruelling treatment, but now, nearly two years since my diagnosis, I feel great! I've found that mentally it takes longer to rediscover who you are again and feel back to your normal self, but, I am there now and am so excited and lucky to be marrying Kevin in July this year. If I can get through this I can get through anything and for me the next chapter starts now!”
A huge well done and thank you to everyone who took part in one of our 5k or 10k Race for Life events across the country today. Whether you walked, jogged or charged, every step helps us beat cancer sooner.